Essex bested two other communities vying for a new division of workers from Blodgett Ovens’ parent company, paving the way for what’s expected to be dozens of new local jobs.
Municipal manager Evan Teich said town officials worked with Blodgett Ovens on a pitch to its parent company, Illinois-based Middleby Corporation, which is looking to relocate a recently acquired company.
Essex was in competition with two other communities: one from North Carolina and one in Mississippi, according to Teich, who said he’s been told the new division will bring between 50 and 90 new jobs.
Middleby has yet to announce what division it will be sending to Essex, according to Blodgett’s vice president and general manager, Erica Havers. She referred The Reporter to Dan Coolbeth, Blodgett’s vice president of operations, who didn’t return a request for comment.
The announcement comes a year after Blodgett Ovens vacated its waterfront property in Burlington and moved in to the 180,000-square-foot facility at 42 Allen Martin Dr. The town helped usher in the deal by agreeing to a tax break that forgoes about $225,000 in municipal taxes over a 10-year period, according to the tax stabilization agreement.
Unlike some previous agreements, Blodgett’s didn’t require the company to increase its workforce; then-selectboard chairman Max Levy said that requirement is most useful for unproven businesses that carry higher risk. Blodgett, meanwhile, is in its 171st year in business.
At the time of its move, Havers said Blodgett had been experiencing double-digit growth for the previous decade.
“Now that we have some more space,” she told The Reporter, “we’re in the game to hopefully bring some more business here.”
The town is working to expand public transportation offerings in the Saxon Hill Industrial Park, where Blodgett Ovens is located, with the hopes of attracting more employees to the area, Teich said.
He added his excitement with the expansion, especially given Blodgett has only been in Essex for a short time. As for what that tells him: “Not only do they have a great product, but we have a great story.”